Can an ad evoke emotions? Can an ad be truly moving?  I believe that good advertisements can be pieces that move a generation, speak to a certain group of people or just instill hope.  I think that although many brands aren’t able to do this effectively, P&G has really stepped up with the Winter Olympics 2010 and created a campaign that is enlightening and touching.

Who is P&G and why haven’t I ever heard of them?  P&G is short for Proctor & Gamble and they are a company that is the mother of many everyday brands that most of the population are familiar with: Gilette, CoverGirl, Herbal Essences, Pantene, Zest, Crest, Tampax, Iams, Swiffer, Charmin, Luvs, Duracell and more.  The purpose of the company shows their involvement worldwide with “providing branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.”[1] They are trying to make the world a better place through their sheer size and their ability to produce products for household purposes, cleaning, beauty and health.  The brand talks about their ability to “improve [their] lives in ways that enable them to thrive, to increase their quality of living and over time, to join the population of consumers we serve…”[2] The company is always looking for ways to help out the community, including a past example of sending Tide products and transportable washing machines to the victims in Louisiana.  P&G is looking for ways again to bring people together, this time by making a difference in the lives of the families of the athletes of the Winter Olympic games by reaching out to them with an advertising campaign devoted to them.

When most people watch commercials on television, they don’t pay much attention, but P&G brands has created a campaign to reach out specifically to their target audience with an ad that involves families, reaches out to evoke emotions and gives the audience that, “I’ve got the chills” moment. With ads that reach out to tug at our heartstrings, P&G has effectively communicated with their target creating a sense of support for the Winter Olympics Athletes and their families and the products that allow them to get the housework and cleaning done, as well as take care of their families.  Here is an ad from the campaign:

Watch. Appreciate. Think. Watching this ad and actually focusing in on to the message that it is sending and feeling the emotions of the actors, you realize, even before the tagline comes up across the screen that these are children representing the athletes at the games and the fact that they were once children too.  They are doing extraordinary things in their lives and inspiring so many of us.  “To their Moms, they’ll always be kids.”[1] It gives you chills whether you have a mother that was there for you for all your ball games as a kid, or if you are a parent attending the games every weekend, or even if you just have a close bond with a parent that has always supported you.  Appreciation comes in here.  You start to appreciate the fact that P&G has taken note of this special feeling for moms and their children at that moment when they are accomplishing their highest goals and achievements. It’s a special bond. It’s making up for all of the treks back and forth to practice, all of the slushees after losses to cheer them up, and all of times that they failed, because this is the moment where all of that doesn’t matter any more. They have reached the moment in time when all of that is in the past and the person that was always there for them is sitting in the stands remembering back to all of the effort put in and their pride in the fact that “That’s my kid.”  This is the moment when the athletes are at the top of their game and showing what they can do and their biggest fan is there to watch.  Now, time to think. P&G has effectively put so much into a commercial that emotions are being tested, goosebumps are popping up on viewers arms and everyone watching is silently thanking their mother for being their biggest fan.  P&G is not only showing their values of families but also supporting those bonds and thanking moms everywhere.  Here is another example of a television ad for this campaign that also focuses on the moms.  It shows the mom’s involvement throughout the child’s life as they grow.

It also reaches out and tugs at your emotions.  Moms are being pictured at every stage of growth, at the milestones, and always helping out when they can.  They are pictured vacuuming in the living room but also changing tires on the side of the road.  Mom’s are pictured as being multi-faceted and working outside the usual stay-at-home mom stereotypes, reaching out to empower these women.

Why focus on Mom’s?  Why aren’t Dad’s shown in this ad?  Aren’t they there for the practices and the tournaments too?  P&G sells products for Households, Beauty and health.  Although many of the products are for men, women are the primary purchasers of these kinds of goods because of their involvement in the household, often making the shopping list and as I learned in my many years in advertising classes, women are the ones that make the purchases for the family.  They tend to do the grocery shopping and buying all of the essentials that are needed by the family.  For this reason, the commercial spots that air on television and the rest of the campaign focus mostly on the moms.

P&G’s overall goal of the campaign is to reach out to the families and the athletes that are at the games to support and give them the supplies that they need to stay healthy, happy and secure at the games.  They will make sure that the moms and the families of the athletes are comfortable during their stay in Vancouver by providing a home away from home for the athletes and their families.  They will have 24/7 coverage of the games and events, Internet, food and beverages, play areas for younger siblings, and pampering for the moms.  They even threw in complimentary Tide laundry during their stay.  They wanted to be sure that the mom’s of the athletes were able to come, cheer on their favorite athlete and be comfortable while doing it.

Ads don’t always achieve this level of involvement from the audience, but it is important to note the significance of what P&G is doing here.  They have effectively created a campaign that promotes their products, shows their support for the athletes and their families of the Winter games, and gives the moms in the audience a pat on the back.  Most advertising companies don’t do this.  When an advertisement is created to sell a product or service, the first thought isn’t how can we reach out to the audience and instill hope, inspire motivation, or connect families.  The company usually focuses on, how to make the brand/product memorable to the consumer so that it is what comes to their mind when the need arises.  When companies have a purpose, another reason for promoting their product rather than just selling as many units as they can, they can truly create a piece for the generation; A reminder of where we come from, and connect people on different levels.  Yeah they are selling the products under their head company, but they are first showing support and I think that truly inspires people.


[1] Proctor & Gamble. Retrieved March 24, 2010, from http://www.pg.com/en_US/index.shtml

[2] Proctor & Gamble. Retrieved March 24, 2010, from http://www.pg.com/en_US/index.shtml

[3] Video will be embedded on blog. Originally found on Youtube.com

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Blogging-How does this affect me and my future?

Now that I have reached the 20 post mark, I want to look back at Blogging and what kind of impact it can have on me personally and professionally.  Blogs can be a way for me to creatively express my opinion through writing, share things that I have learned as well as evaluate things that are new in the world.

I can share my blog with friends, coworkers, or anyone else that I think would be interested in my blog topics.  I could also use a blog to interact with others in my field to learn others’ opinions on new technologies, new forms of technology, new media, etc.  I can put my spin on things, and then when others comment, start a discussion of sorts.   Blogs can open the world up to what I am personally interested in, and how I feel about it.

I am looking forward to continuing this blog so that I can share my opinion on the advances in the media world as well as other topics that come of interest.

What can you StumbleUpon?

Last summer, one of my friends told me that they had used stumble to find a site they were refering me to.  When I said I didn’t understand, they sent me the link to the website where I could download the Stumble! toolbar onto my firefox web browser.  When I set my account up, I was able to download the toolbar, fill out a list of my interests, websites I like to browse, etc and then started to stumble.  Since I picked sites for cooking, web design, humor, and more, I came across many sites with recipes, home decorating, stunning landscape pictures, funny comics and more.

I was suddenly intrigued by this technology.  The ability to blindly search the internet, only knowing that it is somehow related to your list of interests and waiting to see what comes up next.  For advertisers, if people are coming across certain websites based upon an interest list and then by clicking stumble, you could be sure to reach all the people of certain interests.  You can also build up a list of users and their interests.  How many of you have used Stumble?

The new face of television-Hulu

With today’s generations becoming more and more busy with work socializing with friends, getting involved in different organizations and putting more on their plate, less and less time can be devoted to sitting at home in front of the TV at regular TV viewing hours.  Because of this, the number of VCRs and the newer DVRS/TiVos are now allowing users to watch TV programming on their time.  But what if viewing was made even easier?

Hulu has been introduced in the last year and can change how many people view television shows.  As a college student, like many of my friends, I watch a couple of TV shows each week.  In the past couple of years, because I had a broken VCR, if I missed an episode, I’d just have to watch the recap the next week and hope that I could catch on quickly enough.  However, now when I miss episodes of my favorite shows, I can watch them online with streaming video from Hulu.  Viewers that have internet capabilities on their TVs don’t even have to worry about recording TV shows if they have access to hulu because they have full episodes from most of the channels.

Another way that hulu works well for the consumer is their lack of long commercial breaks.  When you watch a show on Hulu, you have the option of watching a long commercial at the beginning of the show from the sponsor, or 1 commercial breaks between the 4 or 5 pieces of the show.  Either way, you watch at most a couple minutes of commercials total.

They have episodes from so many shows, keep at least the last couple online so that if you miss a couple weeks you can catch up, and short commercials.  What more can you want?

Creating websites that are easy to use

For 6 years back in high school and my early couple summers of undergrad, I worked at a privately owned teacher supply store in Calvert County, MD called Educate & Celebrate, Inc.  The store was known throughout the county for it’s stock of teacher supplies, bulletin board decorations, workbooks, flashcards, etc, as well as it’s wide variety of puzzles, wooden toys, educational games and toys and variety of office supplies.  Students could come for their summer reading books, school supplies, locker gear, and more.  While I worked at this store, I not only learned how to be a professional working as a sales clerk at the counter, I also was given experience in filling online and phone orders, working with advertising co-op as well as helping my boss with reorganizing the website so that it was easier to work with for our customers.

The website had previously been hard to find because of lack of key words on the page, and was not easy to navigate because of hard to read links and outdated graphics.  Now the website for the store is easier to use because it’s organized, has a menu to different types of products and is visually pleasing for customers when they go to the site.  You can even pull up the calendar now from the main screen and see what deals or special events are going on.

After we reorganized the website, we sent out mailers to everyone on our list, and although that helped our online sales, the sales jumped even more from long distance shoppers that now came across our website more easily based on key words for search engine return results.  It really is amazing what you can achieve by making sure your site is easy to navigate and easy to find.

But will they open it?

What will it take to get cell phone users to open content from a brand on their phones?  What is key in getting through to them without seeming to be butting in on their personal lives?

The answer: Only deliver content when they ask for it.

When I am using my cell phone, I use it for making phone calls to friends, family, different departments at the University where I work as an RA, to make appts etc.  The messaging that I do on my phone involves texting those that I interact with on a weekly basis and getting the occasional voicemails.  As a cell phone user, I would be annoyed to find text messages from companies trying to sell me products, or tons of phone calls from telemarketers trying to get me to sign up for different programs or products.  However, where I would be receptive to material is if I have signed up for updates or downloaded the product.  If I can go to Coca-Cola’s website and download ringtones from my favorite artists or pictures for my background, I would be okay if Coca-Cola has their logo on the side.  If I download an app to my iPhone that is a snowboarding game, I would be okay if it was sponsored by a snowboarding company, just as long as I chose to download it. The key to putting branded material into this highly personal area of communication is to make sure that it is asked for and chosen by them specifically.

All communications lead to Going Mobile

Each Year, Mobile phones become more and more techno-savvy and get more features added to their capabilities.  When I got my first phone, It was pretty simple: Unlike the model in this picture though, I didn’t have texting abilities.  I was able to make phone calls to and from friends and check my voicemails.  I was excited that it had a color screen, and I could change the picture from clouds to a sunshine when I wanted to.  After my contract was up on that one, I got the razr:

When I got the razr, it was the coolest thing because it not only had a color screen, but it also flipped open and closed, I could take pictures with it and download them to my computer, or even send them to friends because I now had texting abilities.  I was also able to download ringtones for my friends of my favorite songs from Verizons ringtone store.  I was moving up in the world. Then I got the Samsung phone:

This phone closed like the razr, but could be flipped open to talk on the phone like the razr, or flipped open on the side for texting with a full miniature qwerty keyboard.  I could also download ringtones on this phone, I had unlimited texting and there is internet capabilities available although I didn’t use them.  Now I have the LG Dare:

This phone has a full touch screen, as well as many other capabilities available like internet access and more.

Although I’m not completely connected with my cell, there are phones that have capabilities for games, apps, full internet access, and more.  With the iPhone, users can download apps from the Apple store for games, weather, workout plans, menus, etc. Some are free, some cost, but they are all a choice for the user to download based on what they’re interested in.  This allows different brands to create apps to be available for download on the apple store.  With workout plans from nike, skateboarding games from skecher’s, surfing game’s from Billabong, etc, Brands can now make appearances on people’s cell phones per their decision.  This has opened up a world of possibility for marketers to reach consumers where they are communicating with others most often.  People always have their cell phones on them wherever they go, now they can take their favorite brands on the go with them.

Twitter-What is all the Tweet about?

Twitter.  The newest thing out there that allows people to let everyone else in the world know what they are up to at all times… or at least as often as you tweet. I still haven’t quite figured out all of the benefits of having an account, but I still tweet every time something happens that I feel would be of significance to the few friends that follow me.  Businesses use Twitter to update consumers on new products, what others about saying about their products, and promote the ads or website for the product.

Gap does a great job tying their Twitter page in with the rest of their campaign.  Not only do they have the same colors and patters on the page, but all of their tweets are written in rhyming lyrics like their singing Christmas deals commercials.

Starbucks also showcases their holiday colors and themes and answers consumers questions about products, stores, giftcards, phone numbers and more.

Twitter allows users to follow these brands so they can keep up constantly with what’s going on with their favorite brands while the brands can keep up with their consumers likes, dislikes, problems, compliements, etc.  I can see how this could be very beneficial for companies.  It’s almost like conversations and discussions one on one with each consumer.  I can see this becoming a big part of marketing campaigns world-wide.

Youtube-The place where anything and everything is uploaded

AdWeek Came out with their list of the Best of the 2000s this week and the top website on their list was YouTube.

“In many ways, Saturday Night Live‘s 2005 video short “Lazy Sunday” launched the online video boom that’s caused millions of work hours to be lost watching YouTube. Before NBC forced YouTube to take it down in 2006, it generated 5 million hits (a small sum by today’s measure). YouTube helped make it remarkably easy to post video online, and even easier to stream. Plus, clips could suddenly be embedded on any site across the Web. Super syndication—now a core digital media strategy for many content companies—was born. But perhaps more of a landmark moment for YouTube was its influence over consumers’ expectations. Thousands of nobodies started sharing clips via the Web, everything from stupid human tricks to baby’s first steps. YouTube has been vital in ushering in the notion of consumer as mini-media mogul. To boot, film and TV companies are stumbling over each other to secure distribution on the burgeoning platform. The only thing missing, even under owner Google, is a credible revenue stream. One day, that will change. —Mike Shields”

http://www.bestofthe2000s.com/web-site-of-the-decade.html

Youtube has become a phenomenon in it’s relatively short time of existence. Because of it’s ability to upload to just about anywhere on the web, the ability for users to very easily upload their own video files, and the wide range of video topics available on the site, it reaches users of all age groups and interests. User-generated content reachers its full potential on this site through it’s simple directions for uploading, places to comment on videos, the capabilities it has set up so videos can be uploaded as responses to others, etc.  In essence, people can have “conversations” by video between other users and themselves.  YouTube videos are the ultimate viral media on the web.

Some of my favorite videos have been the Evolution of Dance, Kittens Inspired by Kittens, MAD TV skits, Funny Commercials, funny kids, and Singers and Dance group performances from TV shows.  What’s your favorite YouTube video?

Unofficial company blogs-Help or hindrance?

Just to get to the point, I’m a Mac that used to be a PC.  I switched 2 years ago after using the Mac computers in Martin Hall at WVU for my advertising projects.  It wasn’t that I necessarily disliked PCs, I just grew to love and appreciate what Macs can offer me.  I am a person that is slow to learning new technologies and I found Mac to be very easy to learn to use.  With that being said, I often look up information on Macs to see what I haven’t learned, what else is new in the world of Macs, and what other technology apple is coming out with next.  After making the leap, I have come to find that while PC users deal with or work on their computers and just user their computers on a daily basis, Mac users love their Macs, talk about having a Mac, and look for others that own them so they can discuss what features they like the most.  Because Mac users like to talk and discuss their products, a blog is an ideal place for users to look for more information because blogs allow readers to comment and discuss.

http://www.appleday.org/

This blog has everything the writer can find on updates on Apple products, and his title has a clever play off the saying “An Apple a Day.”  This blog is great because it is updated often, can be translated into 12 different languages, is organized in showing old and new posts, comments and is even able to connect with twitter.  Their blog posts highlight the superiority of Apple products to other products and discuss the positive things that Apple is doing.

Unofficial blogs such as this one could really help a company.  Customer input and opinion is a huge help in promoting products to other potential customers.  Just as in a store when the person next to you tells you they loved the product in your hand and they use theirs every day, and it sells you on it, reading someone elses’s positive experience with a product or brand will most likely sway you towards a purchase.  Unofficial blogs that are in support of a brand, would definitely be considered a help.

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